Flint Group's Mike Green Receives NAPIM's Printing Ink Pioneer Award
By David Savastano
Mike Green, Flint Group’s vice president of sales, is no stranger to receiving industry-related awards. Mr. Green, who was honored with the Printing Ink Pioneer Award from the National Association of Printing Ink Manufacturers (NAPIM) during its 2009 Annual Convention, was previously named a member of the Gravure Association of America’s (GAA) Gravure Cylinder society in 2006.
Mike Green, right, Flint Group’s vice president of sales, receives NAPIM’s Printing Ink Pioneer Award from NAPIM president Michael Gettis during the association’s 2009 annual convention.
After a few years in the printing industry, Mr. Green had decided to return to school in 1985 to pursue his master’s degree in printing technology. While he was at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), Mr. Green earned the GAA’s first Gravure Education Foundation scholarship. When he attended the GAA’s annual convention to receive the honor, he met Howard Flint II, the GAA’s treasurer and, at the time, a high-level executive at Flint Ink.
“I went to the GAA convention, where I met Howard Flint,” Mr. Green recalled. “Howard and I started talking, and he asked for my resume. By that time, my goal was to work for the largest printer in North America. I planned to spend a few years learning about ink first, but I ended up staying at Flint Group.”
Now, 27 years later, Mr. Green has added another prestigious honor to his resume.
“Receiving the Pioneer Award was fantastic,” Mr. Green said. “I never thought I would be qualified to receive it. A number of my colleagues have received the Pioneer Award, and I always thought it was a great award. I was surprised I was nominated. It is very humbling.”
His colleagues certainly weren’t surprised Mr. Green was honored by NAPIM.
“I’ve known Mike for almost 20 years now,” said Bill Miller, president, Print Media Americas for Flint Group. “I first met Mike when he was a gravure salesman calling on the Corinth, MS plant. Mike has a tremendous amount of industry knowledge across many product lines. His career includes working in, and than leading our efforts in, the publication gravure, heatset, news and digital businesses. With the exception of digital, he presently is playing a leading role in these same product lines, as well as chemicals, blankets and sheetfed inks.
“Mike’s best assets are his personal drive to succeed, honesty and integrity,” Mr. Miller added. “It doesn’t take a person long to know where Mike stands or his expectations. These qualities and his personal style have earned him the respect of all that work with him. There is not a more deserving person in our industry. I’m very happy for him.”
“I’m very pleased to see Mike receive the Pioneer Award,” said Norm Harbin, Flint Group’s business director for news ink. “It’s a deserving honor. I’ve known Mike for close to 25 years, and I still remember him as the young guy who came into the business. He has a good understanding of the business and the ability to work with everyone, from customers and people in the industry to his peers here at Flint Group.”
An Interest in Printing
Mr. Green’s journey to the ink industry started through printing, which he was introduced to during high school.
“My dad was the basketball coach and a teacher at my high school, and he introduced me to the printing teacher,” Mr. Green said. “I ended up taking the introduction to graphic arts and vocational printing courses, and worked at a print shop after school. I was fascinated by the presses.”
After high school, Mr. Green attended Ball Sate University, where he majored in graphic arts management. By then, he was interested in more than running a printing press; he had an eye on owning a printing company.
“My whole goal was to own my own printing shop,” he said. “My first job was at the Western Newspaper Publishing Company in Indianapolis, which published law review journals. I was there for three years after I graduated college in 1982, with an eye toward buying the company, but when the owner decided to hold on to it, I decided to go to RIT to learn more about the technical side.”
Mr. Green showed a knack for technical matters; his master’s thesis addressed the important image quality differences between offset and gravure printing inks, focusing on developing a technique that would enable offset inks to match gravure printing ink hues, which would come in handy once he signed on with Flint Ink.
Having joined the then-named Flint Ink, Mr. Green’s first job was on the technology side, as he became a senior graphic arts technologist at Flint Ink’s R&D Center, working on publication gravure inks. In 1988, he was promoted to laboratory manager, gravure division, for three years.
During that time, Mr. Green was also learning about the ink business from Mr. Flint and Norm Grajek, Flint Ink’s general manager of gravure.
“Howard Flint was one of my biggest mentors. He always remained accessible, no matter how busy he was. I am truly fortunate that he took me under his wing. I learned a lot from him.” Mr. Green said. “Norm Grajek was the general manager for gravure when I first joined Flint Group. He, too, had a big impact on my career. Both Howard and Norm made sure I understood how to build relationships with customers based on respect and integrity.”
In 1991, Mr. Green decided the time was right to try his hand at the sales side of the business. He handled gravure technical sales for three years, and then was named branch manager, gravure and heatset publication division at the Lancaster, PA branch from 1994 to 1997, where he managed all operational facets of the gravure ink manufacturing facility, including fiscal, administrative and labor force.
More promotions followed, from East Coast regional manager, heatset publication division to vice president of sales and operations, publication division for two years. In April 2000, Mr. Green was named vice president/general manager, digital division, tasked with managing Flint Ink’s new digital arm.
In 2002, Mr. Green was named Flint Ink’s vice president/general manager, North America news ink division. He was promoted to vice president and general manager of the publication and news ink divisions in August 2005, where he was credited with increasing sales. As part of the global Flint Group restructuring earlier this year, Mr. Green was appointed vice president of sales for heatset inks, news inks, sheetfed inks, pressroom chemistry and blankets.
Outside of Flint Group, Mr. Green is a dedicated supporter of trade associations. He is a member of the GAA; he has been a featured program speaker at GAA events as well as the Gravure Publishing Council (formerly GCIC). He has also served for more than a decade on the executive committee of the GPC. Mr. Green also serves on the Web Offset Association’s supplier advisory board. He also continued his education: In 2003, he received an MBA degree through the executive MBA program at the University of Michigan.
Considering his background in education, it should come as no surprise that Mr. Green continues to work with students. He spends many “Gravure Days” at various schools, promoting and educating the next generation of industry leaders.
Outside of work, Mr. Green enjoys sports. “I am an avid golfer, and have been golfing since I was five,” he said. “I am an a basketball fan; growing up in Indiana, I watched my dad lead his teams to a historic six high school state championships. After I earned my MBA at the University of Michigan, I became a passionate fan of the Wolverines.”
As befits a person whose roots were in R&D, Mr. Green continues to keep a watchful eye on product development: Under his management and guidance, his teams introduced new product lines for publication heatset (Arroweb ink series), publication gravure (water-based) and news ink (the Intertech award-winning news UV ink).
Mr. Green said that the changes in technology are amazing, and he looks forward to seeing what comes next.
“I started in R&D in the gravure labs as a graphic arts technician, and moved up in lab management. I feel that if you want to grow in the ink industry, you need to know the basics, including the chemistry behind it,” he said. “I have had the opportunity to see many changes in technology, from continuous to halftones, the development of faster and bigger presses with far better quality, and the digital evolution of the graphic arts. I’ve gotten a wealth of experience in the ink industry and enjoyed it. It’s been fun and a good run.”